An excerpt from Life After Bankruptcy by Seth Hanson
I’ve said it before in this book, but this is really a great time to dream of a much better future for yourself and your family. This is also a great time to dream big because you have this clean slate and a new focus on your financial future.
Setting goals is a great way to give your life meaningful direction and to focus on what you want to accomplish. Do you want to retire early, debt-free? Do you want to travel, debt-free? Do you want to buy another car, debt free? Think about how much more you can do now that you have no monthly payments.
Don’t just set a goal, make a plan. The best plans come from SMART goals:
- S Specific
- M Measurable
- A Achievable
- R Results Focused
- T Time Bound
The what, how, and why of your goal. What is it that you want to achieve, how are you going to achieve, and why?
By the end of next year, I want to save enough money to go on a trip to Paris for some family vacation time.
What: trip to Paris
How: save money
Why: family vacation time
In the family vacation example, the “measurable” aspect can be the time-frame, “by the end of next year.” Or, you can get more specific with your goal.
By the end of next year, I want to save $4,000 to go on a trip to Paris.
See the difference? The first example, though specific, wasn’t really measurable. How much money is “enough?” You don’t know that unless you do some research on airfare, hotels, food and other vacation expenses. How long is your trip? One week, two weeks? What do you want to do once you get there?
Goals should stretch and push you, but still be something that you can actually do. Let’s take another look at that vacation example. If you want to save $4,000 to get to Paris by the end of next year, how much do you need to save each month? Let’s say you have about 18 months to go before that goal of “by the end of next year.” $4,000 divided by 18 months is about $225 a month. Is that achievable, based on your current budget?
Maybe plan on saving $250 a month, so if there is a month that is a little tighter than others, you can still reach your goal. Worst-case scenario, you have to save for two years instead of just 18 months. But, you’ll still get to Paris!
This example is very results focused. You will take a trip to Paris with your family. That will be the result of reaching your goal. When you write your own goals, you just have to make sure that your goal actually RESULTS in something. Whether it’s a tangible purchase, an experience, a certain number that tells you when you have achieved your goal.
This is critical. If you say, “We’ll just save until we have enough money,” you are not stretching yourself enough. The best way to hold yourself accountable is to give yourself a deadline. Make it realistic, but challenging, just like the rest of your goal.
For more information contact your Fairfield bankruptcy attorney.
Categorized in: Debt